If you are purchasing a new home or are looking for home insurance, you may not know all of the ins and outs of what you actually get from home insurance or how it works. We want you to get the most out of your insurance, so here is the complete guide to buying home insurance!
What is Home Insurance?
Home or homeowners insurance is essentially a bundle of coverages for your home, unattached structures, lawsuits against you, and other situations that your insurance provider agrees to pay for. Insurance is all about paying a small amount now to avoid having to pay a lot in the future.
Is Home Insurance Required?
Home insurance is not legally required, but neither is brushing your teeth (we’d highly recommend both!). While it’s not required by law, if you have a mortgage, your lender will probably require you to have insurance on the home before purchasing the property.
How Does Home Insurance Work?
Whether it is for your car, home, or other property items, insurance starts with a few questions about what you are insuring. For homes, the insurer will typically ask you about where you live, what is included at the property, and other related questions about you and your home. Once the insurance provider knows more about you and your house, you will have some options for coverages. You will typically have to pay a higher price for more coverage. Once you have homeowners insurance, you can file a “claim” if your house is damaged or something else happens that’s covered by your insurance. A claim basically means you ask for payment for costs that are covered by your home policy. If you are covered, the insurance company will cover the expenses up to your policy’s coverage limits.
What is Covered By Home Insurance?
Coverages vary based on where you live, but these are the common items protected in most states.
Your Dwelling coverage protects anything that is permanently attached to your house, including the chimney, roof, flooring, cabinets, etc. For example, if you have a garage attached to your home, your Dwelling coverage would cover it.
One of the coverages included in a home insurance policy is to protect your unattached structures. This could include unattached garages, fences, driveways, gazebos, etc. So, if your wife has a “she-shed” in the backyard, it would be protected through Unattached Structures coverage.
Your belongings or personal property is protected whether it is damaged or stolen from your home. Your ‘stuff’ that is commonly covered includes:
- Tools/power equipment,
- And Décor
However, there are typically per-item limits on your belongings. For example, if you have $100,000 in personal property coverage, but your limit for a single item is $10,000, you will only get up to $10,000 for a particular damaged item, minus depreciation. This is great unless you have an item that is worth more than that limit, like an engagement ring, grand piano, or an expensive art piece. But don’t worry! If you have expensive items, you can insure them as individual items on your policy, which is referred to as scheduling an item or adding a rider. The most common items that are scheduled are:
- Expensive or custom furniture,
- Art and collectibles,
- And Jewelry
Whether someone is injured on your property or you or someone else on your policy cause damage to another person’s property, your Personal Liability Coverage would protect you. If you are sued due to these kinds of damages, your home insurance can pay for your lawyer and court fees up to your policy’s limit.
Temporary Living Costs
If your home is damaged and you can no longer stay there, this coverage pays for hotel/rent expenses and food (above the normal costs you pay for food). Let’s say you usually spend $150 on groceries each week, but because you can’t cook at your home, you have to eat out and you spend $400. You would get $250 from your insurance provider for food expenses.
Injuries on Your Property
If someone else is hurt at your house or on your property, this type of coverage helps pay medical bills associated with the accident.
What Kind of Events are Covered by my Home Insurance?
Events usually covered by home insurance are called perils, which are just instances that could potentially cause damage. Every insurance provider is different, so be sure to ask what perils are covered by the policy you have. Perils can include:
- Theft and vandalism
- Falling trees/objects
- Water damage (except for floods)
- Crashes into your home
- Fire and smoke
- The weight of ice, snow, or sleet
Flood coverage is not included in home insurance. If you would like to include this type of coverage, you will need a separate flood insurance policy.
Can I Add More Coverages?
There are some extra coverage options you can add, such as water backup and personal injury coverage.
Whenever plumbing/sewer systems get backed up, this is not automatically covered with home insurance. We recommend having water backup coverage since this can cause significant damage and be an expensive mess to fix. This form of coverage helps pay for home and personal property damage and water removal. Not all insurers offer this coverage, so be sure to ask that it be included in a home insurance quote.
Personal injury can cover you from other lawsuits and instances that are not included in your liability coverage. Personal injury can protect you from:
- Libel or slander lawsuits
- False arrest or imprisonment
- Wrongful eviction
Confirm with your insurer the extent of your personal injury protection. As always, make sure you ask your insurance provider to include any extra coverages you would like in the home insurance quote, so you can compare rates.
Whether you are in Springdale, Arkansas or elsewhere, home insurance can seem complicated and confusing. That’s why we’re here! If you have questions or would like a quote, please call G&G Independent Insurance at 479-802-0086!